Chicken Tikka Masala

Indian food gets a bad rap. A lot of people including my friends and family say eww curry is gross”, or it “smells bad”, etc. I (regrettably) used to be one of those people but that changed when I actually tried naan, chicken tikka masala and some other delicious vegetarian dishes with chickpeas and cauliflower. It wasn’t love at first taste but now that I’ve had it from good restaurants over the years, I looooove it. A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to make it and so I read some recipes, bought some new spices and (though slightly terrified) went for it! I lightened up the recipe a tad which saves on calories but not flavor. You can find the original recipe here. 


8 or so garlic cloves, finely grated

6 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger

8 teaspoons ground turmeric

4 teaspoons garam masala

4 teaspoons ground coriander

4 teaspoons ground cumin

3 cups 1% yogurt (not Greek)

1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

3.5 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 small onion, thinly sliced

¼ cup or more tomato paste

2 tsp cardamom

3 dried chiles de árbol

1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes (you could add another small can- I didn’t have one or I would have)

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup or so vegetable or chicken broth

¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro plus sprigs for garnish

Steamed brown basmati rice (for serving)


Put seasonings in a bowl and combine. Reserve half for later.
Put chicken in a bowl with the grated garlic and ginger.

Add yogurt and half of the spices.

Place in the refrigerator for at least 4-5 hours. You can leave to marinate overnight.

For the sauce:

Put the vegetable oil in the pan on medium heat. Add onions, chiles, tomato paste and cardamom.

Stir for 5 or so minutes while the sauce darkens.


Add the other half of the spice mixture and cook for 4-5 more minutes until bottom of pan darkens.

Pour juice of canned tomatoes into the pan. Squeeze the tomatoes with your hands crushing them into small pieces. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer.

Simmer for 10-15 minutes so sauce thickens.

Here is a good time to pause if you aren’t ready to proceed. You can shut the sauce off for an hour or two until you’re ready to finish everything. The rest of the process will take a little under an hour.

Put your oven broiler on high.

Add your cup of cream and chopped cilantro. Combine well and add broth. Let simmer on low stirring and scraping black pits from bottom of pan. (It will thinken over the next 30-40 minutes. Stir periodically. ) While that’s cooking, place your marinated chicken on an oven rack.

Place your chicken in the oven under the broiler until it blackens in spots. About 10-13 minutes.

Let it cool for a few minutes so you can handle it. Slice in to big chunks and add to the pan.

Let the sauce simmer another 10 minutes or so. 

Serve with brown rice and enjoy this rich creamy dish.

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